- Created: Tuesday, 17 September 2013 23:42
- Written by Sam McDonald
Herman Wallace, one of the Angola 3, who were unjustly jailed in the United States following the death of a guard in a prison riot, has announced that he is in the final stages of cancer. Following 40 years in solitary confinement, Wallace has been transferred to a hospice for his final few weeks of life.
The Angola 3 – Wallace, Albert Woodfox and Robert King – were members of the Black Panther Party initially imprisoned in 1971. Committed revolutionaries, they organised prisoners to improve conditions in the former slave plantation of Angola.
Convicted, by an all-white jury, of the killing of a prison guard in 1973, following a trial where multiple witnesses testified to their innocence. Years later, once DNA testing was available, the state ‘lost’ the bloody clothes and samples from the victim that had been claimed to prove their guilt. New evidence showed that the prosecution witnesses had been bribed with privileges and reduced sentences.
The Angola 3 have remained committed to their fight for justice, lodging appeal after appeal. Robert King was released in 2001, following a successful appeal against his original conviction. Albert Woodfox’s conviction has been overturned three times by lower courts due to the racism of his trial and suppression of evidence. Even the widow of the victim has supported the men’s fight for justice.
Due to their refusal to compromise their beliefs – described by the state as ‘unrehabilitated active Black Pantherism’ - they have been held in 6’ by 9’ solitary cells. A civil lawsuit challenging the unconstitutionality of 40 years in solitary confinement is due to be heard in June 2014. Herman Wallace will not live to see the result. The experience of the Angola 3 shows how the capitalist state will do all it can to continue to punish its revolutionary enemies.
The same system of oppression continues to fall most heavily upon oppressed groups. Black men and Muslims, in particular, face increasing restrictions on their freedom to read, associate and study as they wish while in prison, both in the US and in Britain.
To support the Angola 3, visit the campaign website http://www.angola3action.org/ or write to the Governor of Louisiana via Amnesty International.
You can also write with messages of support to:
Albert Woodfox #72148, David Wade Correctional Center, N1 A3, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040
Herman Wallace #76759, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, CCR D #2, PO Box 174, St. Gabriel, LA 70776.
They might bend me a little bit, they may cause me a lot of pain, they may even take my life, but they will never be able to break me. – Albert Woodfox